We all strive to get more things done during our incredibly busy workdays. The web is full of with tips and tricks that offer more or less successful advice on how to be more focused, avoid distractions, and organize your days with productivity mind. But nothing is more valuable than peer-to-peer advice.
In this post, we share 5 personal productivity tips from the Sunscrapers team.
We hope they inspire you to find a mix of productivity techniques that help you accomplish all your goals without burning out.
Żaneta – Head of HR and EB
I use many mobile apps that help boost productivity and avoid procrastination. For example, I really like my MacBook app that turns all the notifications off, allowing me to focus on the task at hand fully.
I also use social media blockers. They’re just great if you catch yourself scrolling your Facebook feed way too often. Using apps such as Offtime or AppDetox, you can restrict the access to the network for a specific period of time during the day. Todoist is an excellent app for creating a daily or weekly list of tasks.
What about concentration? Music can be very helpful – our office is full of people who work with headphones on all the time. A colleague recently recommended an interesting app to me that comes in handy if you can’t get your hands off your smartphone. It’s called Forest and rewards users that manage to concentrate with a given period of time with coins they can use to plant real trees with the app’s partner, Trees for the Future.
Michal – Software Engineer
I think it’s important to learn what works for you and adjust your daily activities to your preferences. While some people start the day full of energy and are very productive in the morning, for others the most optimal working time is the afternoon. Another group of people is night owls who do their best work at night.
While my work time is set from 9 to 5, I try to organize my day to make sure that I tackle important tasks during the best moment of the day. I fill other periods of time with meetings or less demanding tasks.
Another strategy I recommend for organization and productivity is making notes. I basically note down everything that appears in my mind. That way I don’t need to keep things in my mind, but in my Evernote app. GoogleKeep and MS One Note are useful as well. If someone tells me about a product they want, I write it down, and when Christmas rolls around, I have no problem picking a gift for that person.
I also make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. I noticed that right hydration helps me avoid headaches and keep my focus. I also take regular breaks and get out of the office for a short walk at least once a day. These walks help me order my thoughts and launch new stages in my work – they combine with the pomodoro technique effortlessly.
Anna – Web Developer
I always try to start my day with something that gives me lots of positive energy. As a developer, I’m always interested in learning more about the topic that is currently on my radar.
Sometimes I start the day with an industry article, an online course I’m following, an aspiring TED talk or an industry podcast. The idea is to learn something new, but finish the learning process at the moment where I still find it all very interesting, but I’m not overwhelmed with information yet. That’s how I can return to the materials on the next day with a lot of pleasure and energy.
Another important thing is taking walks. It doesn’t matter whether the weather is great or terrible, I always try to have a walk outside. Walks are not only great for our immunity system and strength but also because they allow our brains organize the knowledge we acquired throughout the day. We also tend to resolve problems unconsciously – psychologists call it the incubation process. It’s important not to listen to any music or podcasts at this time but allow your thoughts to wander freely.
Exercising is another crucial element in my routine because it translates directly to the power of my mind. It’s smart to try a few different disciplines and find something we find enjoyable. If you’re a total newbie in the world of sports, get in touch with a trainer or physiotherapist who will teach you how to exercise correctly and make sure you don’t do yourself any harm.
Tomasz – UX/UI Designer
Multitasking is an exciting way to make the most of your day and keep yourself engaged in work. On the one hand, my job is all about designing interfaces and building great UX on our platforms. But I also manage projects, meet with clients, and have some side projects I want to develop effectively.
Having to do many different tasks throughout the day is something I usually like, but multitasking can be a trap if you’re trying to be creative. It’s simple – multitasking automatically generates a more substantial number of deadlines. For example, it’s hard to design an interface when you know that you only have one hour until the next task.
So how do I deal with that problem? I decided to make my days into theme days. When organizing my tasks, I choose the project or theme as my filter and assign similar tasks for every single day of the week. That type of division helps me manage deadlines and reduce distractions.
I can’t imagine working without my headphones and Spotify playlists that help me disconnect from the environment and get into the project flow instantly.
I seriously recommend turning off all notifications on your smartphone and leaving only those that are essential in your work. And I mean, really essential – trust me, you can check your email twice a day and survive.
Kamil – Project Manager
Facebook can be valuable for personal development, but more often than not, it just ends up eating our time like no other network. If you catch yourself mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed, consider installing a plugin in your browser that replaces the entire feed with inspiring quotes.
It’s called Newsfeed Eradicator for Facebook, and I can definitely recommend it. I know that blocking your entire newsfeed sound crazy, but trust me – after a few days, you will feel relief and notice that all the information from your Facebook wall isn’t that necessary. Most of the time, it’s just content marketing or plain rubbish.
Traditional paper calendar. I know what you’re thinking – why would anyone keep a physical calendar when there are so many personal planner and calendar apps on the market? But the traditional paper calendar works best for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who sticks to this old-school organization method!
I like to plan my work for the entire week on my calendar. I plan my week on Friday but set aside some time for preparing on Monday morning when I know more about changes in priorities. I use six different colors to mark my tasks. For example, personal tasks are yellow, internal professional company tasks are green, and tasks related to various projects have different colors. One glance at my calendar is enough to know what I’ll be doing during that week.
To decide what matters, I use the urgent-important matrix described by Stephen Covey in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You can check the matrix here. I basically try to avoid dedicating my time to urgent tasks that aren’t that important or ones that are neither important nor urgent.